Spring 2022 Haute Couture Fashion Week got off to a strong start on Monday with the unveiling of Schiaparelli's first in-person couture show since the start of the pandemic.
Since joining the house in 2019, Daniel Roseberry has gradually breathed new life into the house, bringing about renewed interest via inventive design still rooted in the Schiaparelli codes and a slew of big celebrity moments. If expectations were high for his return to the runway, the designer did not disappoint.
Interestingly, Roseberry's path to this standout, otherworldly collection involved an exercise in paring things back. In the refreshingly straightforward show notes, he explained how he started conceiving the collection last April during that "brief period of hope" when we all thought Covid would soon be behind us. When that turned out not to be the case, he felt loss and exhaustion.
The loss of people, most wrenchingly. But also, the loss of certainty; our loss of surety; the loss of our collective future. There is also the pervasive sense of exhaustion we all feel: That churn of red-carpet appearances, award shows, even fashion presentations— something about it feels lackluster. Aren't we all exhausted by all of it? Fashion has insisted upon its relevance over these past two years, and yet I can feel that even some of its practitioners are no longer convinced. What does fashion mean, what does fashion have to say, in an era in which everything is in flux? And, with regards to this Maison, what does surrealism mean when reality itself has been redefined?
According to the show notes, the designer decided to strip away color and volume from his designs during the fitting process. "All of the tricks that couture designers (including me) use to communicate grandeur and craftsmanship — big silhouettes, glorious poufs of fabric, huge volume — felt hollow," he wrote. "Instead, I wanted to see if we could achieve the same kind of drama and otherworldliness without relying on those tropes."
He did exactly that, using only black, white and gold (a shade of gold specially formulated for the house that took multiple seasons to perfect), the latter often used in sculptural accoutrements and accessories that are dizzying feats of engineering. Roseberry had in mind "a mythical high priestess, at once goddess and alien...whose very clothes defied rules of gravity."
The relative simplicity of the expertly tailored clothes — sophisticated-yet-daring dresses and jackets in black and white — let these pieces shine, but without falling all the way into the background. The result is beautiful and magical, in the way only couture can be.
Roseberry also wrote about how designing this collection helped remind him why he loves fashion: "It isn't for the celebrities. It isn't for the likes. It isn't for the reviews. It’s because, when it’s done right, when it has something to tell us, it can help us feel the inarticulable. It’s because it still has the power to move us."
See the full Schiaparelli Spring 2022 Haute Couture collection in the gallery below.